Friday, June 28, 2013

Turtle roadkill

As I commute to and from work, I drive along the Wolf River.  Sometimes I see that a turtle has been run over and killed.  I never like to see road kill.  It shocks and saddens me.  Over time, I have come to the conclusion that these untimely deaths are a message from the Lord that we are all mortal and it is best to be right with Him because we never know when our time will be up.

The strangest road kill is turtles.  To actually run over a slowly crawling reptile, a driver must really be inattentive.  The person must have been impaired, sleepy, or of poor eyesight.  People!  Please pay attention!  If you can't dodge a turtle, you may want to take yourself off the road.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

To-do list

I am currently writing a list of my daily, weekly, and monthly things I need to do.  Once those lists feel complete, I intend to look it over and filter it by these three criteria.

Can I eliminate it?  If there is anything on the lists that I don't need to be doing at all, I should scrub it from my schedule.  Maybe I feel the need to do something.  Or maybe it has been a habit for a long time.  I may need to let it go and strike it from my list.

Can I delegate it?  If there are things on my lists that others could do better, I need to hand those tasks over to them.  It maybe that I need to pay someone to do those things.  I need to be willing to give up that money in order to free up my time to do more important things.

Can I quicken it?  When my list of to-do's has been shortened and cleaned I then need to examine those things that remain and see if I can speed up any of them.  Maybe there are steps that could be eliminated.  Maybe I could make a concentrated effort to get a number of them completed in a short period of time.

My hope is that I can make my essential list my highest, most needful, most impactful items to accomplish.  I also want to free up time so that I can have more of it to spend building relationships, resting, and thinking of ideas.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cringes

I was recently listening to the CD that comes with every issue of Success magazine.  In there, the publisher Darren Hardy, was talking to an author who said we are living in an age when people have many options.  But they don't know what to do next.  She suggested that we write out everything we have to do and then go over that list.  When going down the list, note how your body reacts.  Does it cringe and tense up or does it relax, feel free, and feel hopeful?

So in response here are some things that make me cringe.
 
1.  Meetings.  Especially where I may have to be spontaneous or cleaver.
2.  Being on stage, giving a speech.
3.  Washing dishes.
4.  Attending social gatherings.  Where people have surface conversations.
5.  Opening a letter from the insurance company which likely contains a bill.
6.  The moment that I remember that I forgot to bring a gift.
7.  Being confronted by someone who claims I did something wrong when I didn't.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Gadgets

Why are gadgets so interesting?  I think it has something to do with what they allow you to do.  A gadget expands your ability.  It gives you greater power.

A gadget is also engaging.  It asks to be figured out.  In a sense it is a puzzle.  It holds a promise and it wants to be used for its purposes.

I like gadgets and I find them somewhat addictive.  My wish list has a number of gadgets that I hope to bring into my life very soon.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Recent re-fi

Recently we refinanced out house.  The motivation to do so came from a Dave Ramsey podcast.  In it he essentially said, "For those who haven't re-financed, I don't know what you are waiting for.  There is some evidence that we have reached bottom on rates and that things will begin to go up from here."  For some reason, his few words motivated me to action.  I asked my wife to set up an appointment.

We choose to go with a local credit union.  They have been advertising low rates and a 10 and done scenario.  The process was super clean and I respect this organization because of how they handled the whole thing.

Our upfront cost was $500, which we paid out of our checking account, and then a $70 filing fee.  I choose to look at that money as a house payment.  They would not allow us to role those expenses into the loan.

We lowered our rate by 1.475%, took 3 years off the loan, but added $40 to our monthly payment.  These are numbers I can live with.

My ultimate goal is to live in a house that is completely paid for.  I see this re-fi as a step toward that goal. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dropbox update

I contacted Dropbox customer service and they gave me instructions on how to better sync saved documents on my MacBook and on my iPod.  They said I had two accounts and then suggested to disengage the iPod from Dropbox and then log back in.  I have done that and it does reload things so they are updated and synced.  But only for the moment.  This solution is not satisfying.  Syncing over the internet should happen seamlessly.  I should not have to log out and log back into my account on my iPod in order to get things to come over updated.  This just isn't making sense.  I will need to do work in this area.  As for now, Dropbox is under delivering.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Update on calendar synching

I had been frustrated that my iCal app on my iPod was not syncing with the Calendar application on my MacBook.  Both applications were Apple products and my devises are not that old.

What I wanted was simple.  When I made an update on my MacBook calendar, I wanted the app on my iPod to sync and show that update.  Nothing more than what anyone would expect.  Yet it wasn't getting done.

Enter Fantastical.  An app for the Apple iOS and recently reviewed by MacWorld's Lex Friedman.  I downloaded this app for $4.99.  When I opened it up for the first time it asked to access my calendar.  I clicked "Yes".  Without any problem it is synced with my MacBooks calendar.  No problems.  Seamless.  Easy.  As it should be.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Interesting analogy

Someone told me an analogy that I thought was interesting.  He said that in many places where you work, you are nothing more than a lady of the night.  You are wanted for your time and your body.

When I heard this I couldn't help but laugh a little.  Though I don't agree that it is entirely true.  In fact, I don't like to think that others are out to use me.

Yet, he had a good point.  People are often paid not for who they are and their special gifts and strengths.  People are paid because they are a warm body and are available.  They may have also shown a certain amount of competence.

For me, I don't want to sell my body and time like a street walker.  I have much more to offer than that.  Yet, his point is well taken.  His analogy gives me one more reason to seek independent employment.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Morel mushrooms

Recently, I found three morel mushrooms on my property.  For a number of years now, I have been aware of morel mushrooms and their popularity.  So I was on the look out for some.  These mushrooms  I found here were all discovered in the shade under evergreen trees.

After frying them up with butter and salt, I dug in.  The texture was okay.  The sight was a little fearful.  But the taste was nothing special.  Maybe I didn't harvest them right or maybe they weren't cooked correctly.  But I don't see what all the fuss is about.

There is still one growing in the back yard.  I am in no hurry to fry it up.

Friday, June 7, 2013

New Tracfone

My old Tracfone finally came to the end of its usefulness and I was forced into replacing it or going with a different carrier.  I choose to stay with Tracfone because I like the pay per use system.

I went to the local Dollar Store, of all places, to see what they had.  For a gadget loving fella, not the most sexy place to buy technology.

There were about three models.  The cashier was most helpful.  She recommended one and took a knife to the packaging, opening it up, so I could actually see and feel the unit.  Immediately I knew this was what I was looking for.  I didn't need to look at the other two models available.

The phone I now have is an LG flip phone.  Perfect for my once-in-a-while usage.  It is black with a number keypad and a screen.  There are many options and settings but I won't get into those.

Overall, I am very happy with this purchase.  It was only $15 and I had some carry over minutes I was able to immediately add.  I like having the phone in my pocket for security and to occasionally check the time.

The only drawback is that I was unable to port my old phone number over.  I choose to look at it as starting fresh.  I will be more prudent with calling people from this phone and selective with who I share my number.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Quick Look

For years now, I have been using a MacBook at home.  The operating system is Snow Leopard, which isn't the latest pushed out by Apple, but it is good and it is stable.

After reading an article at Macworld, actually the comments relating to the article, I discovered something new.  Quick Look.

In the finder, one-click on a document to highlight it.  Then click the space bar.  The document will pop up and most everything in it is visible.  The program that opens that file will not start when Quick Look is activated.  You can look at the document and find your information and then x out the file.  Simple and quick.

This is so useful and I just found it after years and years of using Mac OS X.  I always like to learn and grow in my understanding.  Yet, it is amazing how great features can remain buried until someone casually mentions them in a comment to an article.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Running the Sole Burner

I recently ran the Sole Burner in Appleton.  It was my first 5k of the year.  There were a lot of people in attendance.  Way more than I expected.  The temps were a bit cool and the winds were strong out of the north.

It was a struggle going through downtown.  The winds had really picked up by then.  It was pavement all the way through there, of course.  When I run on my own, I usually mix it up with concrete and grassy lawns.  Just to give myself something more cushy.

After we were through downtown, we descended close to the Fox River.  I liked the terrain difference through that point.  Due to the fact that we went downhill, of course we had to run up hill at some point.  We did that over by Lawrence University.

I was glad to see the finish line.  It came up about the time I expected it.  Maybe a little sooner.  There have been races in the past where I never thought I would get to the finish line.

After the race, I immediately caught up with my friend who also ran and he handed me a half of a banana.  We then both went through the tents to get some nourishment.  I always like to grab some free food and a bottle of water after a race.